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Mica homeowner group welcomes new report on costings for grant scheme

The report puts rebuild costs at between €150,000 and €421,000 depending on the size and location of the house.

Image: Claire McDaid

AN INDEPENDENT REPORT assessing the cost to demolish and rebuild mica-affected homes has been broadly welcomed by homeowners.

An updated grant package for homeowners whose houses were damaged by the presence of mica in their concrete blocks was announced by the government last November, including a sliding scale method that would be applied to each property.

Campaigners argued that an average homeowner under that version of the scheme would still have to find up to €65,000 to make up the shortfalls.

Following push-back from homeowners, the Department of Housing asked the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) to submit a report on a model of assessing costs for the mica redress scheme.

The report published by the SCSI today provides average construction costs on a per square foot/metre basis for eight different house types, including estate type houses as well as one-off rural homes.

Average rebuild costs range from €145 per square foot to €165 per square foot. The report puts demolition and rebuild costs at between €150,000 and €421,000, depending on the size and location of the house.

Source: SCSI

Speaking shortly after the publication of the report, Michael Doherty, PRO for the Mica Action Group, said overall the report was to be welcomed and described today as “a good day”.

“I think this gives us a platform now that we can certainly work with,” he said.

Doherty said there are still some elements of the scheme to be worked on, but this can be done through the expert working group that was set up by the department.

He said initial estimates by the Mica Action Group suggest that owners of a 2,000 square foot dormer bungalow could be around €53,000 better off under this recommended model. 

“This is not a done deal,” Doherty said. “The minister now has to decide where he goes next with this. I think this is certainly a much, much better place. We would be encouraging him to have the strength of conviction now to see this through.”

Commenting on the publication of the report, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien reiterated that the enhanced scheme will be based on and informed by the work of the SCSI report.

“The publication of the report and detailed engagement with the SCSI will now allow all stakeholders the opportunity to review its findings,” he said.

The minister has requested that the Expert Working Group on the implementation of the Defective Concrete Block Scheme to analyse the report and make recommendations on how to operationalise its findings.

He has also appointed John O’Connor, chairperson of the Housing Commission, as a liaison to the Homeowners Forum to ensure the views of homeowners are represented throughout the progression of the scheme.

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“Today is an important step forward in getting an enhanced scheme up and running,” O’Brien said.

“Arising from this I intend to bring the final details of the scheme and the required primary legislation to Cabinet in April. I hope that all members of the Oireachtas will facilitate a speedy passage of the bill to allow the scheme to get started as soon as possible.”

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